Perillo, Shelton Officials Secure $2M in state funds for Canal Street work

Posted on October 10, 2023


As published in the Shelton Herald, by Brian Gioiele.

(SHELTON) — The city is receiving $2 million in state funds toward reconstruction of Canal and Wooster streets, including the reopening of the long-closed Wooster Street railroad crossing.

The funds are part of more than $1.1 billion in state funding — approved Friday by the State Bond Commission — that will be used to perform various improvements to Connecticut’s transportation system.

“Right now, we are at a point where we need to do something,” said Mayor Mark Lauretti about needing to reopen the railroad crossing, which has been closed for 14 years. “The goal was always to upgrade the crossing.”

The funds will go toward road and lighting improvements along Canal Street as well and reopening of the Wooster Street railroad crossing.

For more than a decade, the road that connects Howe Avenue to Canal Street has been blocked with fencing and concrete blocks near the Housatonic Railway Company tracks.

Construction is moving to this area of Canal Street near the Wooster Street connection. Most recently, developer Don Stanziale, Jr., received approval for Cedar Village at The Locks, a four-story building at 287 Canal St., known as the Ascom Hasler site. Cedar Village is planned to have 129 apartments and 1,745 square feet of retail space.

Plans are expected to be filed soon for development of the former Star Pin site, which was destroyed in a fire in 2020. The fire was so massive fire crews needed to force entry through the long-closed Wooster Street railroad crossing to battle the blaze that ultimately gutted the historic Star Pin factory building.

It was that fire that prompted fire officials at that time to call for the crossing to be reopened.

“This reopening will relieve downtown traffic and will also improve emergency vehicle access,” said state Rep. Jason Perillo.

Perillo said he worked with state Sen. Kevin Kelly and fellow state Rep. Ben McGorty in obtaining the $2 million in grant funds.

“I am excited to see these funds deliver a more accessible economic and recreational environment for both Shelton residents and business owners,” Perillo said.

Perillo says he looks forward to the positive impact this reconstruction project will have on making Shelton a “competitive community for new families and additional business growth.

The city had called for the temporary closing of the crossing 14 years ago during construction of Avalon Shelton, which is now the Merion Riverwalk Apartments. To reopen the crossing, it had to be built to the current engineering requirements.

“The city’s ongoing efforts to revitalize Canal Street will benefit local businesses, support historic preservation of our community, environmental restoration, and the creation of open space,” Kelly said.

McGorty praised the continued investment to strengthen Shelton’s historic downtown waterfront area.

“This will absolutely empower local business owners and provide Shelton residents and guests with a revived experience when they visit our city,” McGorty said.

This latest state grant comes only a week after the city received $500,000 to help cover costs of turning the lower grass field at Shelton High into an artificial turf field.